You and your spouse were best friends before you got married, but the romance has faded. You’re unhappy and you want out. However, you still can’t picture yourself going to war with your spouse over the wedding china or fighting over the custody of your child.
Is there any way to end your marriage without destroying the relatively peaceful relationship you have with your spouse? Maybe. Here’s where to start:
Choose your timing carefully
You do not want to make this kind of announcement right when your spouse walks through the door after a long day, on their birthday or when they have a big meeting the next morning. Carve out some time so you can sit, talk and process your feelings without interruptions. (Make sure that your child isn’t home, either.)
Talk about yourself rather than your spouse or your marriage
This is not the time to discuss what went wrong in your marriage or your spouse’s failings. Focus on using “I” language that’s as neutral as possible. For example, you can say something like “I just don’t like who I am anymore. I’m unhappy. I know this hurts, but I want a divorce.”
Don’t try to control your spouse’s reactions
You can hope that their response is positive, but you can’t demand it. Maybe your spouse will breathe a sigh of relief because they’re unhappy too. Maybe they’ll simply accept your decision. Maybe they’ll get angry or defensive. Don’t try to manage their feelings – and don’t agree to any “second chances” or marriage counseling if your heart isn’t in it.
Table the logistics of the split for later
This isn’t the time to discuss who will move out, how to handle child custody or what happens with the artwork you bought together. Even if you have a pretty clear idea about what you’d like to see happen, keep it to yourself until your spouse has time to process the idea of divorce.
The tone you set when you announce your decision to divorce can carry through to your future relationship – and that’s particularly important to recognize when you share a child together.. While it’s never easy to move on, your divorce really can be a peaceful, positive process if both parties are willing.